Our we allowing being PC (politically correctness) interfere with our attempts to connect learn, and explore? Let us explore this question.
We all want to be respected, heard, and seen. We all want to know that we have worth and value. I think for the most part people try really hard to be respectful and kind. Side note: the respectful and kind behaviors and actions are usually not the ones that get the spotlight… we are usually bombarded with the opposite and end up feeling that most people are not mindful.
As humans I believe we are naturally curious beings. We allow our children to be curious, we actually encourage it, we know it is important for brain and social development. Have you ever seen a child stare at something… and you can almost see their brain trying to make sense of what they are hearing and seeing?
What I have personally noticed over time is we have become a very PC culture, to the point that we have allowed fear to creep in. We worry about offending someone. We worry that our question will be misinterpreted. Instead of asking the question or having the conversation we close off the opportunity to connect with one another, we close off the opportunity to learn from one another, and we close off the opportunity to enjoy in each other’s exploration.
Here are a couple of tips that may help in opening the door of connecting, learning, and co-exploring:
- Ask for permission first: “would you be OK if I asked you about_______?” “Would you be open to having a conversation with me about ________?” Asking for permission first gives the other person the permission to say “yes” or “no”. Asking for permission says will you “join me”.
- Be an active listener: Be still… listen to listen not to respond. Create a space that is welcoming to the other person. Create a space that says “you are worthy and you have value, and what you have to share has worth and value”.
- Show empathy: “The ability to understand and share the feelings of another”. Allow yourself to feel what it might be like to walk in the other person shoes. Maybe you have not experienced the exact same “situation”, but we have all experienced emotions. Allow yourself to feel the emotion the other person is sharing. Be willing to connect on a deeper level.
- Disagreeing: You cannot disagree with someone else’s “experience” that is their experience. Two people can walk through the SAME forest and have two completely different experiences. We can disagree on facts, assumptions and statements, but to disagree with someone’s experience can be hurtful and invites defensiveness’s…. it does not validate the other persons emotions and reality.
- It is ok to agree to disagree: Not everyone is going to agree with you, and you are not going to agree with everyone PERIOD. It is all about how we handle the disagreement or the disagreeing areas. We can do this by speaking in “I statements”; “I feel_____” “when I heard this statement_____” “when I saw this post it made me think of______”. Try really hard to avoid the word “you” as that can at times lead to shame talk, putting the other person down, and devaluing the other persons thoughts/emotions/experiences. For example avoid “When YOU posted that, it really made me sad” compared to “When I saw that post it really made me sad”. One invites connection while the other closes connection.
- Body language, tone, typed word choice, and emojis: I know many conversations now happen over text, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms so I think it is wise to cover it all.
- Did you know your face and your body will display emotion before words come out of your mouth? Yes is it TRUE. Be super mindful of your facial reactions and body reactions. This means you might need to slow down the conversation. Sometimes we need to talk to our bodies “relax face” “relax hands”.
- Your tone is also very important. Ever been told a grumpy forced “thank you” or “I am sorry”? I am sure you have, and I am sure you also quickly dismissed it!! Your tone and body language is stemming from somewhere… go to that place inside and work on that area before responding.
- Alright…. social media posting and texting. THINK. BEFORE. YOU. POST. OR. SEND. Be slow in your response. Take the time needed to respond not everything needs to be immediate. So many times on social media I see people blasting each other with comments, when we do that we become flooded which leads us to responding in anger, in frustration, or we completely disconnect (unfriending, blocking, and “unfollowing”… you know what I am talking about). I love emoji’s they can be used to show emotion, but still be mindful a “hot red face” can send a very mixed message.
Being a women of color I have encountered people who have dared greatly and have built up the courage to ask me questions. I have always welcomed those questions and conversations. Let us be willing to come to the table. We need to have the hard and uncomfortable conversations. Do not let PC get in the way of connection, curiosity, and exploration.